Internet of Things Brand Basics blog series: Developing and evolving your brand

Bruce Leith

Blog by: Bruce Leith - 25 / Oct / 2017

Today’s blog takes us back to our ‘brand basics’ blog series, guiding you through the principles of creating a powerful brand for your IoT start-up.

We started off by considering elements like look, feel and tone of voice – and then moved on to examine what happens to your brand as your business develops. How do you get your employees to commit to your brand? How do you ensure brand consistency after weeks, months or even years?

Today, we’re exploring a related point – how do you change your brand in an appropriate way? In other words, how do you develop and evolve your brand in line with your changing business?

Evolution vs. rebranding

It’s important not to conflate brand evolution with tearing up the rulebook and starting again. Dramatic brand overhauls do sometimes need to happen in business – but typically they are the realm of established companies going through dramatic changes – mergers, acquisitions, U-turns on product and service offerings and so on. Start-ups and young businesses very rarely have need of a complete business rebrand – particularly if you have followed the advice already set out in our ‘brand basics’ blog series!

Of course, if you have dramatically altered your product or service, or your target customer has changed and the underlying message of what your business is all about has changed too, then a complete rebrand may be your only option, particularly if your business name was tied to your old offering. But think very carefully before starting down this complicated and potentially costly road. 

What are your motivations?

Brand evolution should go hand-in-hand with business evolution. As such, good reasons for evolving your brand include: your business has grown significantly since inception, and your brands seems more tied to the tiny start-up you once were, rather than the SME you have become; you have expanded your product or service offering and want your brand to reflect this; or you are reaching out into new markets and sectors, and want a brand that reflects this. And of course, don’t forget your competitors and the wider marketplace. If your competitors are all evolving their brands in a particular direction, you’ll want to think very carefully about why, and whether you should be doing the same.

Bad reasons for evolving your brand are generally to do with attempting to find a ‘quick-fix’ solution to other business problems. Low sales? Poor customer reviews? A bored workforce? Trouble recruiting? Refreshing your brand can often seem like an appealing solution to one or more of these problems. But the fact is that if the underlying challenges your business faces are strategic, then it’s your strategy that needs adjusting first. Maybe that will feed into brand alterations further down the road – and maybe not.

Dos and don’ts

So, once you’ve established that your reasons for evolving your brand are solid, what concrete actions do you need to take?

Brand evolution is all about balancing the appeal of the shiny and new with the strength of your existing foundations. You need to identify which elements of your existing brand are most powerful and engender most loyalty, and ensure that you retain them – this will typically involve a period of research with customers, partners and staff. You also need to re-consider your market position, undertaking the same old competitor and market research you carried out right at the start of your branding journey.

Armed with this information, you can adjust your value proposition and your elevator pitch – the core statements as to what your business is all about, and why it’s the best at what it does. Only then should you work with designers, marketing and communications professionals, and branding specialists, to identify where your brand can be evolved to reflect this updated positioning.

As with the very beginning of your branding journey, brand evolution is all about information first – look, feel and language later.

Enjoyed this blog? Why not take a look at the rest in our ‘brand basics’ blog series?

  

Topics: branding, IoT, starting a business

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